Articles for this Update were compiled by the City Bar's Committee on the United Nations.

Global partners commit $12 billion to UN-backed fund to fight AIDS,
Tuberculosis, Malaria

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) lauded a $12 billion commitment by international partners to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The conference was opened by US President Barack Obama, and resulted in a sharp increase in commitments compared to pledges made at the previous replenishment conference.

“Support for the Global Fund comes at a crucial point – in many parts of the world we are entering into a ‘make or break’ point in progressing towards our goals,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46654

UN says 15,000 people need humanitarian aid in flood-hit region of Niger

The Komadougou River – previously completely dried out – burst its banks and flooded communities in south-east Niger, necessitating relief aid to more than 15,000 people. The floods have affected transport systems and paralyzed local trade, severely affecting income streams for people living along the border with Nigeria. The Government of Niger, with the support of UN agencies and other humanitarian partners, has already distributed 94 tons of food and identified possible relocation sites.

At least 20 more villages are at risk as flooding continues.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46648

Pop superstar Katy Perry lends voice to UNICEF to improve lives of world’s children

Katy Perry was appointed by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as its newest Goodwill Ambassador. Her work will focus on engaging young people in efforts to improve the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children and adolescents. Her outreach will be directed especially at children and adolescents who are most vulnerable, including those living in severe poverty, affected by violence, abuse, and neglect, and in emergency and conflict situations.

“I believe young people have the power to change their own lives, with our help,” she said. “I am honoured to join UNICEF as a Goodwill Ambassador, and committed to doing everything I can to help children and adolescents who come from such different backgrounds but want the same thing: a brighter future.”

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46653

UN peacekeeping chief in Eastern DR Congo to inaugurate new protection technology, sees progress

Hervé Ladsous, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, visited the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to discuss the UN Mission’s support in key areas, emphasizing the importance of political dialogue for regional stability. He launched the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) – drones – which are expected to assist with fulfilling the mandate to protect civilians in the vast country.

“Such high-technology systems allow a better knowledge of what is happening on the ground, which allows a force to better do its job,” Mr. Ladsous said.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46642

Taking stock, UN official delivers ‘mixed report’ on human rights progress worldwide

High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, noted slow and steady advances in human rights in some areas alongside causes for alarm in others, including Syria and the Central African Republic. She highlighted the prevalence of reprisals against civil society organizations, individual human rights defenders and journalists working on rights issues, and the plight of migrants.

The UN human rights institutions, however well they function, are not enough by themselves,” Ms. Pillay stated. “The rest of the United Nations – individual Member States, powerful bodies such as the Security Council and the General Assembly, and all the UN’s myriad agencies, funds and programme – need to pull their weight in the common cause of improving human rights for everyone everywhere, in accordance with the UN Charter.”

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46635

Major UN conference underscores universal stake in ending corruption

The Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption concluded earlier in the week in Panama City. The Conference, which is the largest biennial gathering on anti-corruption, resulted in six resolutions and three decisions, including on the private sector, education, and enhancing international cooperation. Representatives of Member States, civil society, private sector academia and the media, discussed best practices and successes in the fight against corruption.

The World Bank estimates that every year between $20 billion to $40 billion are lost from developing countries due to corruption and bribery.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46630

New UN report details widespread psychological distress of Syria’s refugee children

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees published the first in-depth survey on Syrian refugee children since the conflict began in March 2011. Entitled “The Future of Syria – Refugee Children in Crisis word,” the report finds that over 70,000 Syrian refugee families live without fathers and over 3,700 refugee children are either unaccompanied by or separated from both parents. Around 1 million Syrian children are refugees in neighboring countries.

Many Syrian refugee children are growing up in fractured families, and children are often the household’s primary breadwinners, forgoing an education to support their families.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46615

Sudan: UN relief official deplores killing of health workers in West Darfur

UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Ali Al-Za’tari expressed his condolences and condemned an attack which killed two Ministry of Health staff members who were part of a measles vaccination team in West Darfur. The nationwide measles vaccination campaign that began on November 24 is targeting about 15 million children.

“I call on all parties to ensure the protection of all personnel working to deliver assistance to populations in need throughout Sudan,” said Mr. Al-Za’tari.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46623

Independent expert welcomes UN committee’s resolution on right to privacy

The General Assembly’s Third Committee, which deals with human rights, approved a draft resolution recognizing the need for States to establish oversight mechanisms to ensure transparency and accountability for surveillance initiatives. The vote on the non-binding resolution will follow next month. Frank La Rue, Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, welcomed the draft text as an important first step in ensuring trust in the safety of communications.

“To demonstrate their commitment to protect privacy and to ensure people can communicate freely, States can start by immediately revising their own laws and the role of the judiciary, in order to correct serious gaps that exist in most national legal frameworks,” said Mr. La Rue.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46619

Security Council strongly condemns deadly shelling of Russian embassy in Damascus

The Security Council deplored the mortar shelling of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Damascus, Syria, which killed one and wounded 9 people on November 28. The Council deemed the incident a “heinous terrorist act,” extended their condolences to the family of the victim and expressed their sympathy to all those injured.

The Security Council reaffirmed that all forms of terrorism constitute one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46613

Topic In Focus

World AIDS Day: UN hails gains in combating virus, urges greater action towards
'zero discrimination'

United Nations officials marked World AIDS Day with a call for the international community to increase efforts to end stigma, discrimination and complacency, to stop new HIV infections among children and to ensure access to care and treatment for all those that need it. The Secretary-General noted that significant progress had been made – there have been major drops in new infections and deaths and progress towards the target of ensuring that 15 million people have access to antiretroviral treatment by 2015.

But, as outlined in the UNAIDS 2013 World AIDS Day Report, some regions and countries are falling behind. “If we want a future free of AIDS we will need continued investment, commitment and innovation to reach the vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. On this World AIDS Day, let us resolve to consign AIDS to the pages of history,” declared the Secretary-General. As part of this effort, UNAIDS will launch Zero Discrimination Day on 1 March 2014, adopting the butterfly as the transformative symbol for zero discrimination.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46632

UNAIDS 2013 World AIDS Day Report: http://www.unaids.org/en/media/unaids/
contentassets/documents/ epidemiology/2013/gr2013/UNAIDS_Global_Report_2013_en.pdf

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